Why use rim tape (vs. cheap tape)?
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  1. #1
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    Why use rim tape (vs. cheap tape)?

    Hey, I did some searching and found a lot of people use Velox, but let me ask: why not just a couple of layers of electrical tape?

    I did just that years ago when I got a flat once from a rubber rim liner that shifted where the nipples stood proud into the tube area. Many miles later, never again a flat (from the nipples).

    I just got a set of clincher rims that are deep enough that the nipples are well countersunk. So I could see using something to resist the tube expanding into the nipple holes but again I have to wonder why I can't/shouldn't use something like electrical tape (yes, i realize it would stretch a little).

    What am I missing here?

  2. #2
    Does it matter?
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    I helped a guy on the side of the road with a flat, and he had many layers of electrical tape on his rims, he went in to the gas station and bought some more to touch up the bad spot that caused him the flat. He had so many layers on that it was hard to mount the tire. He told me he just kept putting on more tape as needed, and that it difficult to take the tape off, as he tried to, but lamented that he was just going to have to take off all the electrical tape and put on the proper rim tape. I remember this vividly, as I was helping the guy in the rain on the side of the road. He had previously flatted earlier in the day, and was out of CO2, I let him borrow my frame pump.

    I'm a frugal guy by nature, and understand trying to save a little, but I won't hesitate to put on cloth rim tape. For what it's worth I believe the performance brand tape is the same as velox, I've use both, they work the same

    http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...slisearch=true

    and the cloth rim tape comes off easily when replacement is needed

  3. #3
    A wheelist
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    As this is the road bike site, maybe electrical tape isn't good at resisting 100psi pressures. Wouldn't you think if electrical tape was great then Velox would be out of business?

    But if you want to go the el-cheapo route AND have bombproof tapes, use 3M nylon filament packing tape. I know it works as I used it myself for about 20 years on both road and mountain bikes with zero issues - and one layer too. I don't use it anymore as I was given a bulk shop roll of regular tape so I'm using that.
    .

  4. #4
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    Yeah, I'm not looking to save $5, but I guess was wondering just what advantages a specialized tape has. I could see one being not stretchable so as to prevent the tube from inflating into the spoke holes on recessed spoke rims, whereas an electrical tape would. But is that it?

  5. #5
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    Electrical tape works fine but it tends to stretch a bit more under pressure and move around a bit on the rim, as compared to Velox. You need to check it and replace it a bit more often than cloth.

    One disadvantage of cloth, I'm told, is that it can be degraded if you wash your bike/wheels often, especially with power washers. This can be an issue for cyclocross.

    If your tire is a tight fit then Velox can make it impossible to get it on. Alternatively, once on, Velox makes it harder to blow tires off a rim. I had to use electrical tape on my notubes 29er rims, broke two tire levers trying to get the tire on with Velox.

  6. #6
    eRacer
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    I think about any Tape will work, but why not just put on 1 layer of Velox Cloth Tape and be done with it.
    Cheap - Works Great - Easy Installation - Easy Tire Installation - Readily Available - Never Fails - Lasts Forever!

    VELOX FOND DE JANTE TAPE
    Velox Rim Tape.jpg
    Last edited by jmlapoint; 01-31-2009 at 12:45 PM.
    John Lapoint / San Diego
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  7. #7

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    I agree that Velox (or equivalent) is the way to go. I just took apart some wheels that were 25 years old. The Velox was still doing it's job and came off without leaving a gooey mess. It's got a fine-weave (high TPI count) that protects better than substitutes. That's really not a place where you want to be frugal.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puchnuts
    I agree that Velox (or equivalent) is the way to go. I just took apart some wheels that were 25 years old. The Velox was still doing it's job and came off without leaving a gooey mess. It's got a fine-weave (high TPI count) that protects better than substitutes. That's really not a place where you want to be frugal.

    Considering it's half the price of most other rim tapes (or spoke hole "solutions") I have to wonder about someone avoiding Velox in order to be "frugal".

    "I'm also using a milk crate instead of a proper saddle, but I saved $70!"

  9. #9
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    unless you use multiple layers - the electrical tape does stretch over the nipple well - also messy to take off. I much prefer snap-on tapes like ritchey or conti - no mess no fuss, easy to take off, and totally reuseable.

    The stuff costs $8 max for a wheelset, but if you puncture due to crap rim tape, u lose that much in a replacement tube - not to mention the headache.

  10. #10
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    i dont think i paid more than a few bucks for my rim tape. ive used the stretch on specialized stuff and a few other ones too (velox included), i honestly dont remember ever having any issues with any of them. as long as it covers the holes, i think you're alright..

  11. #11
    la dolce vita
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Ross
    Considering it's half the price of most other rim tapes (or spoke hole "solutions") I have to wonder about someone avoiding Velox in order to be "frugal".

    "I'm also using a milk crate instead of a proper saddle, but I saved $70!"
    +1000

    C'mon...seriously. Of all the parts on a bike, you want to cut corners here?
    Its like using old magazines to wipe your....
    insert witty comment here

  12. #12
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    -100 on plastic rim strips

    One tire on my bike came with plastic rim "tape" that was a continous loop and had to be stretched over the rim, then snapped back to cover the nipple holes. After maybe 250 miles I popped a tube when the plastic stretched and was cut by the rim, which then cut the tube. Took it back to the LBS and *****ed, they put a new plastic strip on it and replaced the tube. Several hundred miles later it happened again. I put on Forte cloth tape like the other tire had and no problems with it since.

  13. #13
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    I use veloplugs... they seem fine. Never have bothered with tape since.

    Miyata 1000

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by XR4Ti
    I could see one being not stretchable so as to prevent the tube from inflating into the spoke holes on recessed spoke rims, whereas an electrical tape would. But is that it?
    As far as I know, the sole purpose of the tape is to prevent the tube from failing sue to the spoke holes. Either the sharp edges or holes.

  15. #15
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    I'll second the 3M nylon filament packing tape for the budget route. I wouldn't go electrical for the reasons mentioned. Also, I don't think the veloplugs fit all that great in non-velocity rims. I have a set in my Aeroheads. They are lighter than cloth tape, but are twice as expensive. The main reason I got them was b/c it was my first wheel build, the plugs are reusable, so if I screwed up the build it would be easy to restart again. I've been using this stretchy nylon like thing that was recommended by Mike Garcia of Odds and Endos. It's a lot more flexible than the stiff plastic stuff which I've had split on me too.

  16. #16
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    Like others said, the stretchiness of electrical tape is probably the problem.

    I've had hit-and-miss luck with the snap-on/nylon rim strips - I've had a few that cut tubes on their own, and got replaced w/ velox.

    If (for whatever reason) you don't want to 'spring' for velox, I've had good luck with regular athletic tape - just make sure you get actual cloth, and not paper or plastic. I've got several wheels that have a single layer of athletic tape, with no problems. Thinner than velox too.
    I love the sound of cowbell in the morning.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bopApocalypse
    Like others said, the stretchiness of electrical tape is probably the problem.

    I've had hit-and-miss luck with the snap-on/nylon rim strips - I've had a few that cut tubes on their own, and got replaced w/ velox.

    If (for whatever reason) you don't want to 'spring' for velox, I've had good luck with regular athletic tape - just make sure you get actual cloth, and not paper or plastic. I've got several wheels that have a single layer of athletic tape, with no problems. Thinner than velox too.
    Hehe. Being a Canuck, I've got a roll in my hockey bag. But I'll go with the rim tape.

  18. #18
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    I'd like to suggest also that you shouldn' t cut curners here. Speaking from experience, I set up a set a light weight wheels for racing only and I used threaded packing tape instead of rim tape (as a suggestion from a friend of mine that used to work at a bike shop) just to save a few grams of rotational weight. He was a mtn biker so the tire pressure differences are not nearly the same and I got a cut tube during the Fitchburg stage race race from it.

    Needless to say I couldn't finish, I was unable to rejoin the group after a wheel exchange from neutral support who also couldn't put the wheel on my bike for some reason. I had to put in on for her. I'd like to say that I'm very lucky that I got the flat on the climb and not on the 50+ mph descent. I'll digress, now I'm content using my FSA rim tape. I'll never go back to non-standard tapes. I learned my lesson, and I'm still alive!

  19. #19
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    Personally, I suspect that any metal that would poke through your tube would also poke through electrical tape, whereas cloth is less susceptible to being jabbed through. But that's just a theory I came up with on my own...

  20. #20
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    One word - Reliability!! Why save all of $6 and a few grams to compromise one of the most important parts on your bike. If that tape stretches or slides off center over time, you can be left with an unridable bike in the middle of nowhere. I still consider my Velox rim strips one of the best parts I buy for my bike - they have never failed me.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers
    Personally, I suspect that any metal that would poke through your tube would also poke through electrical tape, whereas cloth is less susceptible to being jabbed through. But that's just a theory I came up with on my own...
    The theory is sound. Cloth tape, like Velox, has a high thread-per-inch (TPI) count. This makes it tough to puncture. Same principle as bullet-proof vests. Electrical-tape is just a mound of polymerized plastics. It's not designed to shield the other side from punctures by foreign objects.

  22. #22
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    Another advantage of the Velox tape is that it pads the edge of the valve stem hole. If you're going to use rim plugs or some other option, you may need to use a countersink or Dremel to chamfer the edge of the valve stem hole. I have had a tube flat this way (not patchable) in an Open Pro rim, and I just chamfered my Deep V rims since I'm using the Velocity plugs and the holes had a pretty sharp burr.

  23. #23
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    What about nylon (PVC) rim tape? How does it compare with cloth tape? Reason for asking is that the closer LBS sells nylon tape only ($2 for a pair!).

  24. #24
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    I can't believe this thread is going here. Everybody knows that velox cloth tape is great. The first thing I do after purchasing a wheel or bike is buy some cloth rim tape.
    You buy it because that is what it is made for.

    Nylon is crap and will rip your presta nipple off, give you flats and your bike club will ridicule you for it. That's why it costs 2 dollars a pair.
    Electical tape will keep you from getting electricuted, and get your rim very sticky and black and disgusting.

    Does anyone want to ask about scotch tape or masking tape ?
    With people like Peter P. around, I am done posting on this website. Mean people have driven me off after 9 plus years. Good luck newbies beware.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hooben
    I can't believe this thread is going here. Everybody knows that velox cloth tape is great. The first thing I do after purchasing a wheel or bike is buy some cloth rim tape.
    You buy it because that is what it is made for.

    Nylon is crap and will rip your presta nipple off, give you flats and your bike club will ridicule you for it. That's why it costs 2 dollars a pair.
    Electical tape will keep you from getting electricuted, and get your rim very sticky and black and disgusting.

    Does anyone want to ask about scotch tape or masking tape ?
    Hey, I was thinking about teflon tape. I hear it'll really lighten up your wheel and is only a buck for a roll that's long enough to last a lifetime!

    Seriously, don't use teflon tape...for those that don't know better.

    Velox or the Forte equivalent works great. Electrical tape is for wires and rim tape is for rims. This is true unless you're trying to rewire your lamp with your old ultegra/open pro rig!
    "Indecision may or may not be my problem."

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